By Shaun Szkolnik, for The Journal
TRUSSVILLE – The best fiction manages to distill truths, to concentrate them and then to deliver them in a such a way that we readers can process them in a way that we had not before. An Alabama author with local ties has sought to do just that in The Nursing Home Book.
In The Nursing Home Book author James Brown borrows from his own experiences watching his parents age and the time his mother spent in a nursing home. He fashioned these experiences into a collection of stories that provide an unflinching, but heartfelt accounting of a part of life that touches so many.
“This book is about those who can no longer care for themselves.” Said Brown. “Within the fictitious Stoneybrook the mostly elderly live their daily lives still in touch with what had been their existence while struggling to make sense of the here and now.”
“They say those who write should write about something known to them” Said Brown. “For three and a half years our family cared for our mother while she continued within the nursing home. We cherished every moment with her as others in the same condition do as well. The Nursing Home Book is a product of those found there and a product of their moments in time. This effort is a piece of their history and thus a part of ours.”
James, who taught science for 23 years in ten counties in the state of Alabama, takes an eye trained in observation and the heart of an artist to create a work that borrows from experience and transcends it.
“A handful of the vignettes are fabrications, stories about fictitious characters or some element known to me living outside the nursing home, but residing within the folds of my own mind. These characters managed to pop up there where they, at the time, belonged.”
The book itself is structured in such a way that each of the 39 stories contained within can be digested as stand-alone offerings and as being part of a larger narrative arc. Brown was able to achieve this by giving each story a different voice, point of view and tone.
It is only fitting that author that has written such a personal work would make that work available from venues deeply rooted in the community. Readers interested in picking up a copy of The Nursing Home Book have two excellent and local options. The Nursing Home Book is available at DeDe’s Book Rack which is located at 104 South Chalkville Road in Trussville. The Nursing Home Book is also available at Nichols Nook which is located at 6454 Main Street in Springville.